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Starbucks Manager Threatens To Cut Hours If Employees Don’t ‘Get To Know’ Customers, According To Notice

Photo: Reddit / Sorbis / Shutterstock
Starbucks notice, Starbucks barista

A post that has received over 70,000 upvotes Reddit and has been circulating on other social media platforms has people irritated at Starbucks.

In the post, a sign is pictured that was allegedly put up at a Starbucks and directed at employees.

Big, bold, highlighted lettering across the top of the sign reads, “YES, HOURS HAVE BEEN REDUCED ACROSS THE BOARD.”

Employees at the Starbucks are now required to “connect” better with customers.

The sign goes on to describe how employees have not been performing their duties adequately, causing the store’s “connection score has fallen to 41.”

The sign then elaborates, “only 41% of our customers feel we take an opportunity to get to know them.”

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Employees were admonished for treating customers “like transactions” and for calling out of work without coverage.

The sign claims that the barista’s priority is to create a “warm and welcoming environment by getting to know our customers," and concludes by warning that if any employee feels that they can’t connect with customers then they should not work there.

Naturally, this poster has drawn some criticism over obvious conflicts. A common complaint with this strange policy is that, generally, someone who works at a coffee shop should probably be prioritizing making and selling coffee quickly and efficiently.

This Starbucks policy creates forced smiles and awkward conversation for customers.

This may seem like semantics, but one Redditor explained the problem with this policy in a comment, saying, “This enrages me. I don't know what they expect from people.. And you know fine well if you stopped to speak to every customer to ‘Get to know them’ then management would complain about you being too slow.”

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On top of everything else, there is even a problem with the survey question. When measuring customer satisfaction, a store or business wants their customers to be as satisfied and happy as possible as do the customers themselves.

The problem with the metric by which the store is being measured is that not every customer that goes to Starbucks is searching for deep and meaningful conversations.

Some people just want a coffee.

I can’t speak for everyone, but when it’s 7:00 am on a Monday morning and I’m on my way to work, I’m not usually in a chipper, let’s-have-a-chat sort of mood.

Typically I’m in more of an “it’s Monday morning please leave me alone I’m tired and just want to go back to sleep” kind of mood and I haven’t even had my morning coffee yet.

The reality of the situation is that some people like a little small talk, other people like a little quiet, and I hate this idiom, but this is one of those cases where the customer is always right.

Whether or not an employee “takes the opportunity” to talk with a customer at length is not a purely negative-positive metric and really shouldn’t be treated like one.

Some days I’m grouchy, tired, fed up and all I want is a coffee.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.